Thursday 28th April

With a pleasant north west wind forecast expected to back southwest during the afternoon, there was some expectation of a decent day. 
Pawnee ready...(Mark Courtney
The Skylaunch was still waiting parts, so reduced price aerotows were called. 
In fact the wind turned out to be south westerly all day with strong thermals, some streeting and hints of wave from time to time. 
The K21s and Juniors were in action all day, and Mark Courtney's (Tuggie) claim to fame was that everyone got away first time. 
Looking east after the squall line ( Mark Courtney)
The tail end of a warm front came through at lunchtime, giving a temporary increase in top cover and reduction in thermal strength, but it was short-lived until a squall line came through with wetness. But we held on for two further launches to complete the flying list.
Looking west improving sky (Mark Courtney)
There were 7 private owners W7, KMV, G29, 877, LRN, CVV, GDE flying, with Wyn Davies W7 having the longest flight just short of 4 hours. There were a couple of near landouts getting caught in the strong sink around the big clouds, but they both recovered from low level to get home. 

And we had a visitor, Richard Roberts from Dartmoor GS in his K6 dropped in, having turned North Hill and flown back as far as Okehampton, the squall line cut him off  from returning to Brenttor, so he soared the squall line back to North Hill and landed just before the rain, for a trailer retrieve.

A big thank you to Peter Smith leading the team of Paul Kane and Paul Medlock to rehang the doors of the vehicle workshop  and also to Aston Key for refitting the spare part on the Skylaunch so that it is serviceable for the weekend - J&P

Wednesday 27th April

What a day!  It started with the forecast northwesterly wind being totally cross and with a slight tailwind, after the first launch (900ft) the Skylaunch broke down, so it was decided to get the Supercat out but the battery was flat so it was decided (look away now Tom) to have reduced price aerotow launches. 

Waiting for the storm to pass (John Street)
As there were frequent hail storms it was decided to have an early lunch, after lunch the next problem was removing members from the warm embrace of the clubhouse, Tuggie Peter Warren didn't need much persuading and soon had the tug out and ready to go.
Hail storm to the south (John Street)
John Street and Vince McCloskey took the first tow which was quite lively, the lift was very strong and the K21 was soon at nearly 5,000ft weaving about making sure to avoid going too near the storms.
Vince and John at 4000ft avoiding the storms (John Street)
Fired by the success of the first aerotow James Hood, Pete Startup and Eric Alston soon had their gliders rigged and set off on their respective tasks.
James went round the club 100k,  Pete liked it so much he went round twice,  Eric had to start his engine after getting to Tiverton, 
Storm at Tiverton (John Street)
William Pope and Dave Cottingham made good use of the Falke and had a long flight with the engine off I expect. Thanks to Peter Field (standing in for John Sillett) who was flying the other K21 and the Junior FZF was well used.
Most of the flights were about a hour, we managed 11 aerotows.  - John Street

Tuesday 26th April - Talgarth not Denbigh

With a fierce NW wind and spectacular forecast all the gliders were rigged before briefing, Bo suggested a very unstable airmass with strong climbs and a huge cloud base. Launch conditions were extremely sporting, requiring full deflections and nerves of steel. Rowan claimed to to have a squirrel on his wing during the initial ground run and H5Matt was commended by tug pilot for managing to hang on during the first few hundred feet. The air smoothed out above 700’ and the gliders were dropped off one by one onto Y’Das. 

Eagle over Y'Das
6knot thermals were in abundance with a sprinkling of 10 knotters thrown in for good measure and with the 6000’ cloud base we all thought cross country ahoy…..but

The tephigram showed positive convective available potential energy CAPE (ask google) in the atmosphere all the way up to 18 thousand feet. It wasn’t long before the surging updrafts were producing towering cumulus all around us which soon had white columns of snow and hail joining them to the ground. It gave me the impression that we were flying in amongst some kind of Alice in wonderland giant mushroom forest. 

Rowan in the giant mushroom forest
The Black mountain ridge was working well again providing a safe place to fall back too after pushing north into wind exploring the streets before they turned to showers. James said he had his highest thermal climb ever toping out at 6300’ QFE above Talgarth (970amsl).
Everyone had long flights with JB putting in another 6hrs in the air narrowly pipping JP and Nick Jones in the Eagle for the longest flight. After the usual team derig James set off into the sunset homeward bound with ENW on tow and the rest of the team retired to a pub in Crickhowell.
The Black Mountains
The ridge basking in the sun before another snow shower

Monday 25th April - In Wales but South

Monday saw the splintering of our merry band. Wyn left early, heading for Nympsfield and after a trip to Wales’s best model shop Pete Startup followed suit. Martin seized the chance to go and visit his daughter while the remaining 6 vehicle strong convoy set off to join JB at Talgarth, where Northerly winds bring smiles of expectation to glider pilots. James took the lead being the most qualified to find the turnoff to Talgarth but it we had only made it 5 miles to Ruthin before traffic, trailers and narrow roads conspired to disintegrate the convoy and satnavs had to be fired up.  H5Matt and JP decided to stop about an hour from Talgarth to wait for M5Matt and slow caravan Nick Jones who were bringing up the rear relying on Matt's satnav. However while they waited they could see JB airborne on spot the gliders, which reignited H5Matt's desire to get going so as not to miss out. 4 strong, the convoy pulled out as Rowan and James Hood appeared coming down the road after a food stop in Newtown. Back up to full strength the convoy negotiated the extremely narrow road into the Black Mountains gliding Club only to be confronted by a HGV coming the other way luckily at the entrance to a farm to allow passage. Phew!

Eagle getting ready
About an hour later Team Eagle led the way into the sky to join JB. The wind was a pretty fierce 330/25kts which meant we couldn't get anywhere near the ridge because of the stonking lift. The ridge from Y Das to Hay Bluff was going like a train allowing forays out into the Wye valley to look for wave before falling back top up height for the next search. Bo, the local instructor wanted us all down by 1845 because he had a hot date or something which of course meant that Rowan finally cracked the wave transition at 1715 closely followed by M5Matt and they had to abandon the blissful smooth 2kts at 7000' to join the steady procession to land. A bonus day after all.
Rowan climbing into the blue
Matt grinning like his glider

Monday 25th April

DSGC members gathered at St John the Baptist Church, Instow to celebrate the life of Ian King, who died recently following a battle with cancer.
Ian King 3 June 1941 - 8 April 2016
The tributes highlighted Ian's skills at singing, photography as well as the gliding adventures and trailer retrieves in Southern England and Yorkshire. Our thoughts are with Carol, Doug and Lisa.

Sunday 24th April

The North wind doth blow.... but which way? from the east or from the west?
(ed: sorry, can't do Shakespeare)

A good weather forecast ensured that the flying list had a number of members' names on it well before 9:00am, with the keenness to fly suitably backed up by willing hands to bring the K21s, the DG505 and a Junior out of the hangar. The main question was then around where the launch point and winch would be set up respectively

The wind was stronger than forecast and a 'full on' crosswind - the forecast together with the actual wind evident suggested that setting up the launch point in the South East corner would  be appropriate. However by the time the launch point had been set up and the gliders brought up from the hangar the wind had moved around more to the East resulting in a tailwind.
Well this seems like the right end to start (Mike Sloggett)
The first K21 launch was completed before 10:00 but with the tailwind it was no surprise that only 800ft was achieved. After a short discussion on whether to change ends a decision was made to consider that decision over hot drinks in the clubhouse, the wind making it feel more like November than April

Half an hour later and flying started again with both K21s in use but it was soon evident that a change in ends was needed so the K21s were asked to land at the Western end of the field whilst the DG505 was walked down.

Flying again got underway albeit with the wind being distinctly variable in terms of direction. It was clear as ever that finding a thermal soon after the top of the winch launch was crucial as in and amongst the evident strong thermals there was strong sink needing careful circuit planning.
Between the nice clouds there was horrendous sink (Mike Sloggett)
James Flory flew the Trial lesson visitor in the DG505 after which Chris Wool completed some aerotows with Jess Summers and Oscar Leeson (the Pawnee responsibility being shared by GuyAdams and Simon Leeson).

With the wind continuing to be 'interesting' a decision was made to stop for lunch to see if the wind direction would settle down.

After lunch it became clear that the wind had settled down but more West than East in direction so the decision was made to change ends again - launching both K21s and the Junior to take advantage of the continually improving thermic conditions whilst the launch point and winch were moved.
Fun in the sun (Mike Sloggett)
And then ensued around 3 hours of fun in the sun with those flying able to make the most of the best conditions of the day where the thermals were present in abundance and suitably strong. Flying continued past 6:00pm to ensure that all those members present actually flew before the hangar doors were closed just before 7:00pm.
Some strong thermals late afternoon (Mike Sloggett)
During the day new member Fran Knowles (from Aboyne) flew her Discus (KL) taking the opportunity, with no other private gliders having rigged, to acquaint herself, through both aerotow and winch launches, with North Hill and the surrounding countryside and longest flight of the day at 1hr 37.

Whilst a day of several end changes, nevertheless a successful day by the end of which 25 flights (5 solo, 20 dual) had been completed with total flying time of just under 12 hours.  - Mike Sloggett

Saturday 23rd April - Denbigh Exped Day 1

Dan Welch from Nympsfield put out his usual call advertising an April wave camp at Lleweni Parc in Denbigh, North Wales and as has become the norm the NHL pilots outnumbered the Nym gang 10:3,

Team NHL awaiting soaring conditions
Hopes were high, bolstered by an epic Saturday forecast for a day of good thermal flying. The northerly wind however had other ideas, obviously it hadn't read the forecast and arrived with a few extra knots in its tail and a thick band of overcast which delayed launching until well after lunchtime. Well expect for the self launching buggers who got away early and motored off south to the good looking clouds in the distance. Even the turbo guys struggled to get away from the crosswind winch launches and needed multiple attempts. There was mixed success amongst our gang with flights ranging from a couple of hours to a couple of minutes.

M5 Matt from ENW (James Hood)
Meanwhile the Eagle demonstrated the virtues of trying for lift within the airfield curtilage as the modest launch was almost entirely dedicated for lift searching and the final turn on to approach was at an equally modest altitude...Stopping on spot in the west end parking bay made up for the excitement modest duration of the flight. Denbigh in a NNW blowing in off the sea and along the hills was seeming like a bad choice...

So the team had lots to discuss, the weather forecasts were all very certain of the wind direction for the days to come. Sunday briefing gave rise to some wild plans for adventure which majored on venue choices and Llanbedr came out top of the list. Calls to tug owners and the Llanbedr airfield looked promising. With no immediate flying on offer, Team Eagle took the best 4 x 4 by far on a mass trip to Barmouth and Llanbedr airfield to survey the terrain and appetites were whetted but evening forecasts and tug pilot returns made it seem a pipe dream. Monday briefing with the stalwart Dan led to the inevitable decision to decamp and head south. Dan who had made the call to arms with the Denbigh trip and energise the NH team was fantastic enough to stand and wave us off as the convoy drove off...

Saturday 23rd April

Today's forecast was for some "epic" conditions, so it came as no surprise that there were two cars waiting at the locked gate just after 8:10, I arrived with the roof down, sun shining but 3 deg! However the early flurry didn't last long with only a handful of members turning up.

With some of NH "soaring section" AKA Matt's motley mob away at N. Wales it was always going to be quiet, in the nicest possible way :) Paul Summers unpacked the hanger and organised the troops, the usual jobs got done, DI's, canopy cleaning, batteries fitted etc all in typical January conditions, frozen fingers and toes all round.

Meanwhile inside the clubhouse it was much warmer, tea and bacon sandwiches were the order of the day,. We set up in the SW corner with a brisk ENE wind, yellow card conditions, at least to start with.

I flew with new member Fran, previously an Aboyne pilot and cleared her for her first solo at NH, she looked pleased judging by her smile!
Fran solos at North Hill (Mark Courtney)
Steve Westlake took the other K21 and started to work his way down the list. From the first launch there were strong thermals, broken but strong! Cloud streets formed almost immediately pointing both East and West to Cornwall (Ron).
Street to Cornwall (Mark Courtney)
A trial lesson was booked for 11:00 so I changed my hat and flew the Tug whilst Paul Summers took Alan Harris for a fantastic flight, I took no chances and dropped Paul under a 8 knot thermal, we didn't want him to miss out ;)

Ellie Carter flew next and experienced what it is like to get mean with the aggressive thermals, she found them, centred and climbed to cloud base (3200ft) and without cursing! How is it even possible not to swear at least once?? Beyond me.

Meanwhile Roly Clarke gave Ellie's mum Lorna Carter her first flight in a glider, lucky girl ----

An early lunch was called for as numbers were few, Ian Mitchell leaned against the Launch Point Vehicle, coiled like a spring, ready to do J.B's PM duty but was persuaded reluctantly to give a tow to James Flory and Jeff  Taberham (380 Mosquito) as we sauntered off to the clubhouse.

In the clubhouse there was a mixture of  raucous laughter, gasps, and snoring as Roly Clarke relived his sea breeze front flight with anyone unsuspecting, (Fran was one of them, sorry should have warned you).
And there my story ends as I had to leave early for Plymouth, what fantastic conditions and what great teamwork. You just got to love North Hill!  - Mark Courtney

Flying resumed after lunch with Ian Mitchell and Steve Westlake instructing, thanks to them for working their way through the flying list. Conditions were initially similar to earlier with good streets in evidence albeit not easy to reach, if you were able to get away the rewards were there. Later it became more difficult to stay aloft.

Jeff Taberham in 380 recorded longest flight of the day and told of being able to fly to and from Tiverton in straight lines. The only other private glider to fly was Mike Fairclough in DFK showing that it was not necessary to take a tow to stay up despite pleas from Simon Leeson to do so, Simon having been persuaded to be tuggie for the afternoon.

By the end of the day we were getting short of members on the ground but were just able to keep going until 6.00pm. Thanks to Allan Mounce for his prolonged stint on the winch and to Richard Davies for successfully (and colourfully!) performing his first session as DLM. A good day. - David Clements

Thursday 21st April

Thursday started with a blustery east wind with a touch of north, this dropped later in the day. With Pete Harmer under the weather it was down to Mark Courtney and Chris Wool to hold the fort.  Recently joined Aboyne pilot Fran continued her winch launch training with Mark Courtney and was seen to be doing well. With initial card conditions being upper yellow, solo pilots were few so the two-seater list was fairly long.
We welcomed back Terry Knights to join the usual Thursday crowd. He had been away for 9 months and was pleased with a small tour of the local area in reduced sink.
Terry Knights with John Borland and John Alcroft (Mark Courtney)
Gordon Bonney found some weak lift over the north ridge but generally there were short flights.

Richard Harris  ready to try his luck (Mark Courtney)
Mark Courtney had to leave early, so ChrisWool continued until everyone had flown (thanks Chris) coincidently as the forecast rain arrived. Not epic but an enjoyable day.
A lost phone was searched for at the end of the day and eventually found. - John Alcroft & Mark Courtney

Wednesday 20th April

A dry sunny day was forecast and that is what we had, the only problem was the 15 - 20 knot gusty wind that frightened all the thermals away, the two Trial lesson visitors turned up but with the Blue card conditions that we had, it was decided that they would enjoy their flights more on a calmer day.
Roly entertaining a Trial lesson visitor who will return on another day (John Street)
There were plenty of members who wanted to try their hand with the difficult conditions and John Sillett, 
It was pleasantly warm in the shelter from the wind (John Street)
Pete Warren and John Street were kept busy all day, we flew until 5:00pm and everyone flew who wanted to.
The thermals were few and far between but some were lucky enough to have extended flights, Pete Warren had the longest flight in the Junior with 22min. - John Street

3rd round Winter Series 2015/16 - Nympsfield

Lizzie Westcott and Jess Summers attended the Third round of the Winter series at Nympsfield which is an event for Junior pilots across the country, - Jess recounts their story:

" it was an amazing weekend in which we not only got to meet other pilots from different clubs but we got to gain experience flying from a different airfield with new people and got some insight as to how different clubs operate. I had three flights including one aerobatic flight on Sunday evening and gained experience in flying along their ridge on Saturday. Lizzie had two which included her first cross-country flight which was 88Km on Saturday and another local soaring flight on Sunday.
Fantastic sky over Gloucestershire (Jess Summers)
 This was our first time flying from a different club and so learnt a lot about launching, circuit planning and landing in a new location.
Lizzie Westcott and Jess Summers (Jess Summers)
We both feel this was a great opportunity and we had an awesome time both flying and socialising! It is an experience that we would both recommend and we would like to bring together more Junior pilots from North Hill to attend the next Winter Series to share the experience!" - Jess Summers

Sunday the 17th April - A birthday to remember!

Yes it was Ron's birthday today and to celebrate he treated Paul Kane to 4 and a half hours of 1 to 1 cross country gliding instruction or more accurately a damn long moan about the lack of any working equipment in our DG505. Despite this it was still a very good day, in fact it might even be a record  x-country day for North Hill pilots. 
Busy day at North Hill - and a great sky (Will Stainer)
7 gliders completed the 307km trip to Candover church and back Paul and Ron in JZK, Simon Minson in SM, Phil Morrison in 611, John Pursey in HOG, Rowan Smith in CLM, Pete Startup in 230 and Matt Wright in M5. Pete Bennett in the trusty K6 HEB succumbed to peer pressure and set off on the same task instead of his planned club 100 and after a backside numbing 5 hours, landed in a field near Shaftesbury having covered an impressive 226km. 
Pete Bennett and the K6 in a nice field (Fiona Bennett)
This added another couple of hundred miles to Fiona and Martin's already hectic schedule for the day and that was before they found that they also needed to perform a little trailer TLC before they could set off to retrieve him.
The turbo boys Eric Alston in G29 and Pete Smith in 1UP were a little late to get going and so were playing catch up to the rest of the gaggle. Eric ended up turning Salisbury Cathedral  before heading home via Dulverton and Pete ended up in a field near his home in Crewkerne though sheer determination not to give up and use his engine.
Eric turned Salisbury (Eric Alston)
 Mike Sloggett, who finally had ENW to himself for the day mainly because James was recovering from yet another late night and Mark was earning brownie points after a week away at the Mynd, decided to have a bash at the club 100 and romped around the task with Martin Woolner in KMV hot on his heals. Wyn Davies in W7 spent his time whizzing up and down between Exmoor and Dorchester and covering 333km in the bargain and enjoying the brilliant views, sea breeze and high cloud base. James Flory also had his syndicate glider 877 all to himself and he made the most of the opportunity by completing nearly 6 hours in the air and bagging his silver/gold duration badge. unfortunately his electronics were misbehaving so he aborted his attempt at a silver distance at Crewkerne before returning to NHL.
For once the epic conditions connect to NHL (Tim Peake)
Finally on the XC front the mighty Eagle BBB, piloted by JB and a friend of Nick Jones's went to Yeovil Reservoir and back without the usual pit stop in a farmers field. There were even wild unsubstantiated reports that John Street was seen flying FZF out over Tiverton, we await the logger evidence to corroborate these heinous accusations. M5Matt
A Proper Grid
It was indeed a fantastic day, Roly actually flew four BI aerotows all three turned up plus one extra, while Guy Adams and Peter Field worked their way through the flying list. I spent all morning helping getting everyone in the air and helping the the three launch lines run smoothly.
In the afternoon there was a Junior sitting doing nothing so I took a quick launch after a bit of messing about at 900ft I managed to get into a decent thermal and climbed to 5,000ft above site I bumped into Matt over Tiverton on  his way somewhere I think he had already completed a quick 300k. Most people had good soaring flights we finished flying about 5.30pm and it was still soarable.
Robert worked hard as tuggie with a bit of help from Mitch in the Rotax falke. There were a hang of a lot of smiling, slightly sunburnt faces at the end of the day! - John Street

Saturday 16th April

A dismal morning under threatening, black clouds,  heavy with showers, and the afternoon developing, as forecast, to give us sunshine. There was never any really good lift anywhere, but it proved an excellent opportunity for yellow card checks – the brisk northerly wind veering and backing, gave everyone some challenging flying. 
Thanks must go to Duty Instructors Peter Smith and Rowan Smith for their patience and stamina: endless simulated cable breaks and launch failures of varying heights, with the associated long walks back to the launch point. 
There was a fair amount of solo flying, but mostly circuits or extended circuits. The exception was Matt Wright in M5 who clocked up around 90 minutes. 
All in all, a satisfying club day, with the long flying list well organized by Barbara and Mike Fairclough in their role of Duty Launch Marshall. - Wendy Willis-Fleming

Thursday 14th April

Low cloud to start with a light south easterly wind and prospect of rain arriving late afternoon. By the time the gliders had been walked up to the end of the field, the cloud had lifted sufficiently to start launching. In general the flights were all quite short, except the first Junior launch with Paul M getting the prize for 33 minutes and Rob R converted to K13.
After lunch,  John B consolidated his solo flight of two weeks ago, and then the southerly crosswind started to pick up significantly although the south ridge didn't seem to work.
The rain looked as though it was arriving just after 16:00, but it was another hour before the big drops appeared with everything safely tucked up in the hangar. - J&P

Wednesday 13th April - Long Mynd

The day began with the usual site and weather briefing, predicting a good start, with the possibility of thunderstorms later.  All gliders were already rigged, so they were towed to the launch point nice'n'early before most members took the trip to Mark's favourite coffee shop in Church Stretton.  The opportunity was also taken to have the usual photograph by 'the bench' on the high street. 
Great view of Long Mynd (Mark C)
First to fly was Chris M followed by Nick Ha and Mark L.  Conditions could be challenging lower down with thermals getting more predictable the higher you climbed.  This seemed to mean the more experienced pilots had more success.  The wind wasn't enough to make the ridge work.  Nick Ha and Mark L got away for two hour flights.  Simon L and Nick Hi went for a pleasure flight - 1hr 20m in the DG505.  The DG100 syndicate took turns with Ray B up next managing well over an hour and a half.  Mark C was very happy at feeling better and celebrated with over two hours in ENW. 
Mike and David overhead Shrewsbury in DG505 (Mike Sl)
After lunch a launch by Mike S and David C who were heading for Shrewsbury in the DG505 topped out at 5000ft much to David's delight.  Paul S finally wrestled his glider back from Mark L but conditions were deteriorating slightly making it more difficult to find usable lift.  Showers were spotted in the area, and the sun was starting to be blocked by the increasing cloud.  Tim P and Paul K were taking it in turns in the Junior.  After a couple of circuits, Tim P was berating himself for lack of skill before Nick Ha launched at a similar time and ended up with a similar outcome. 
People slowly stopped launching as the energy reduced along with flight times. A mixture of pub/kebab shop/tapas bar were populated for evening food followed by a return to the clubhouse to enjoy Mark C firing on all cylinders again ;). - Tim P

Wednesday 13th April

Most members were greeted by thick fog at home but North Hill was bathed in warmish spring sunshine with every prospect of some good soaring conditions and the Swallows are back in force flitting, about getting their nesting sites ready for the summer.
Tim J 877, Pete St 230, Dave C CVV and a member from Dartmoor GS Rich R K6, all rigging with the prospect of a good day, by 11:30am the thermals started popping and a little early soaring was had, but the sea air came in quickly from the South, and soon put paid to that but all was not lost - a large convergence started building to the North.
Pete St in his Discus, after a very quick winch launch decided the only way to reach the convergence was an aerotow (cheating) he managed a Club 100km Yeovil - Tiverton east although with a track further north.
Rich R from Brentor showed up the North Hill pilots with two good soaring flights in his K6.
William made good use of the Falke and Peter F was the tuggie for the day.  - JSt

Tuesday 12th April - Long Mynd

The weather forecast was looking reasonably good for today, with RASP giving a '5 star' rating in the local area for an hour or two.  The view out of the window first thing in the morning looked good, but the mist hanging in the valley soon rose up to the level of the club and took an hour or so to clear.  Tom S was busy planning a cross country task while others began the task of rigging gliders - all eight of them!  
Rigged and ready to go (Mike Sl)
Mark C who had spent the last couple of days being ill, was finally looking slightly better and helped the Mynd pilots empty the hangar before putting in a monumental retrieve winch stint.
Simon takes over retrieve winch from Mark  (Mike Sl)
Simon L and Paul K took the first launch in the DG505 in the quest to get Paul K 'checked' to fly the Junior solo at the Mynd.  The private owners hung around waiting for someone to stay up for longer than a circuit.  Simon L got busy flying with Chris M and Ray B.  An hour later, Gordon B caved and took a launch in DG100, but the ridge still just wasn't quite working.  Mike S found a similar problem a further hour later in his second trip in ENW this year, followed by Tom S DG100 an hour later again.  Things started to perk up just before 3pm when Nick Ha DG202-17......
Nick in DG202-17 (Mike Sl)
   .......timed his launch to perfection (weather skillz obviously) with what turned out to be the longest flight of the day (2hr 30m).  Following him was . . . well . . everyone - Paul S,  Gordon B, Tom S, Simon L and Tim P.  From this point onwards the ridge got busy with most gliders airborne and the same number of paragliders.  Ridge lift was weak, but unmarked thermals were being generated by the warm slopes taking some up to 1800ft. 
The Long Mynd (Mike Sl)
Paul K got a couple of flights in the Junior and Chris M and Ray B both had their first Mynd solos in their glider DG100 LRN.  Once Mike had finished reacquainting himself with ENW, he finished the day by flying with Paul K, David C and Nick Hi in the DG505.

There were multiple flights of over an hour with grinning faces slowly returning to the launch point around 5pm by which time the energy had reduced.  
ASW20 ENW  and JZK DG505 (Simon L)
We were treated to a great Mynd sunset after eating fantastic food cooked by Faye and Jane.  
Great positioning for this lightning shot just before sunset  (Paul K)

There's a buzz of optimism in the air after the poor forecast earlier in the week.  Tomorrow is currently looking like it could be acceptable too . . . happy Mynd days - Tim P

Sunday 10th April - Long Mynd

A weather discussion over breakfast, based on both the forecast and local knowledge, confirmed what everyone had been predicting - a strong Easterly would mean no flying at the Club for the day.
Determined to get something out of the day after further discussion between the various DSGC members present the decision was made to de-rig the DG505....
Time to derig and head off to Shobdon  (Mike Sl)
 .......and take it, together with some of the private gliders, down to Shobdon Airfield for the day.
Follow the leader (Mike Sl)
Just under an hour later and the trailers were all parked up with gliders being rigged - with Shobdon being a busy Gliding and General Aviation airfield it was important for everyone to get a detailed briefing on launching and landing protocols. Once this was completed it was time to start flying, and with just one "home" two-seater glider being used there was plenty of launch capacity available from the EuroFox. 
Great looking sky at Shobdon (Mike Sl)
ASW 20 (Mike S) was first to launch followed by the DG505 (Simon L and Tim) with DG200 (Nick H), DG100 (Gordon B)and Cirrus (Paul S) launching in turn.
It became clear that the previously evident thermals were deteriorating under an increasing 'top cover' but that if the aerotows were taken higher than 2000' then the lift was much better in consistency and strength the higher gliders were towed to.
Sky starting to deteriorate (Mike Sl)
And so a pleasant afternoon of local soaring from / at a site new to all involved was completed.
Mid-afternoon a call came in from Simon L and Tim who had nearly completed an out and return task to The Mynd and back in the DG505 - but with a strong headwind getting in the way of a return all the way back to Shobdon, they had decided that a field landing was appropriate. 
Nick keen to look after DG505 after it is derigged (Mike Sl)
And so various cars and trailers started to wend their way back to The Long Mynd stopping off to de-rig the DG505 on the way.
By early evening everyone from DSGC was back at The Mynd with trailers carefully parked ahead of the poor weather forecast for Monday. - Mike Sl

Saturday 9th April - Long Mynd

The alarm went off at 4.30 this morning at Mark C's request.  The plan was to arrive in time to get a good days flying, as the forecast looked reasonable.  After a Costa stop (obviously) and a breakfast stop at the 'posh' Gloucester services, we arrived around 10am.

The Midland Gliding Club members had begun to get the gliders out, but the weather was starting to look less certain.  It wasn't long before we were staring out of the window at heavy snow.  This continued for an hour, giving time for everyone to get signed in and settled.  Some people also caught a talk on thermal centring by MGC instructor Mark.  

Snowing at the Long Mynd in April (Simon L)

Snow was followed by a series of showers.  The DG505 was rigged in hope of some better weather.  Copious cups of tea were downed prior to the weather perking up and flying commencing.
Chris  and Mark for a site check (Simon L)
Paul K jumped in with Simon L first for a check flight, he experienced a "most savage lay-off" on the launch with the westerly crosswind.  All of the 'new boys' had their site familiarisation flights with Mark C/Simon L - Gordon B, Ray B and Chris M.  The wind slowly moved from South East to West and then back South before finally setting up straight on the ridge.  Thermals were also available giving some extended flights.  Unfortunately flying had to finish by 5pm for the MGC committee meeting, so the North Hill model flyers got out on the ridge for a couple of hours of fun with ex-member Luke R. 

A good solid start to what looks like a 'changeable' week! - Tim P

Saturday 9th April

Rain, Showers, Wind and Hail Couldn't Keep Us Down -
Early morning promised clear skies. The Met Office promised showers and gusts. Neither were fully delivered. By 9am,  8/8 cloud and rain forced an early tea and moaning session.

Equipment and gliders were promptly organised and JP with the help of Rowan set to work on the flying  list after the rain past and the sun made a welcomed appearance.

Thermals and questionable ridge lift allowed for good training. Roly in the Junior promptly called cloud base at 2200 QFE.
Martin before jumping into the Junior (Rowan)

Sophie (H5) made an appearance and seemed to do the rounds like a shisha in a hookah bar.
Phil rekindles his love for Sophie (Matt H5)

Ian started his afternoon duty just in time for a hail shower that grounded all but JP in the promiscuous H5 who decided to wait until the shower stopped before landing.

Everyone flew that wanted to fly and an unexpectedly pleasant flying day was had by all.

Rainbows ahoy (Rowan)